Galapagos Sharks: Forget Everything You Think You Know About Sharks

Sharks. We’ve all come to fear them in one way or another, be it through movies, television, cartoons or books. They seem to have a pretty bad rap in the world today, even if there truly have been more deaths resulting from selfies than sharks. Yet, despite the questionable aura of fear that surrounds them, these creatures continue to fascinate us with their majestic prowess underwater.

When it comes to the Galapagos Islands, visitors come to see the “big” stuff underwater (and on land too! Galapagos Big15), which typically includes whales, sea turtles, rays and the colossal whale shark. And yes, even sharks too. And the greatest part of all? Nobody hesitates to jump in the waters to check them out!

What makes the Galapagos such an ideal place for friendly sharks?

In the Galapagos archipelago, you have the presence of these big creatures thanks to the cold water currents that come through.

What’s more, is that Galapagos sharks are “threat free” thanks to their relatively untouched sources of food. This lack of food scarcity in their environment has made them pretty docile creatures, especially when it comes to food items they don’t need (read: us humans). Additionally, the absence of industrial fishing in the Galapagos allows the ocean to produce more than what humans take from it, meaning the food chain remains intact.

The scary shark stereotype doesn’t just apply to a shark in the Galapagos. W qhile in other places, due to a disturbance in the sharks’ food supply, or simply because there are more aggressive species present, when a shark is known to be near, people quickly get out of the water. In the Galapagos Islands, when there is a shark near, no one can wait to get in the water. That is how Galapagos sharks roll.

And who are these friendly Galapagos sharks?

Galapagos sharks are known for their fearlessness towards humans, which is similar to pretty much every other species on the islands. They simply can’t be bothered with humans. If you find yourself in their way, they will just evade you like a post in the middle of the road. This means visitors can get a glimpse of several species of sharks up close with little to zero trouble of getting hurt. Some of the most common species of sharks that you will see while snorkeling in this magical place are the following:

Six White Tip Sharks At The Galapagos Islands
Our Camera Was Able To Capture 6 White Tip Sharks That We Encountered!

White-tip reef sharks

Triaenodon obesus, commonly called tintoreras (in Spanish) can grow to be up to 1.70 meters (around 67 inches) long. They are seen throughout the whole archipelago, but most frequently are spotted up in North Seymour, Champion Islet, Gardner Islet, Punta Vicente Roca, and Tagus Cove.

Black-tip reef sharks

They are also generally seen throughout the archipelago but are less common than their white-tip reef cousins.

Port Jackson sharks

Also known as horn shark because of a small horn sticking out of their backs that serves as a defense mechanism. They have “grinder” teeth to help them eat mollusks and crabs along the seafloor. Playful sea lions love teasing horn sharks by nudging them, the poor horn sharks just can’t get them off their backs!

Scalloped hammerhead shark

Hammerhead Shark Underwater
You Will Be Able To Spot Hammerhead Sharks At Northern Islands Of Darwin And Wolf And Sometimes Near Kicker Rock.

These hammerheads a perfect mixture of currents and food to in the Galapagos waters that make it one of their favorite reproduction spots. They are pelagic (open water) feeders and can be seen on Genovesa Islands, along its underwater cliffs.

Galapagos shark

They bear the name of the archipelago even though they are not an endemic species. They are less easy to spot but easy to recognize, due to their very typical shark shape. They have a pointy nose like most people expect sharks to have, unlike the rounded nose of the tintoreras.

All in all, the Galapagos presents an equally enlightening and thrilling experience (with zero danger) for all those with an aversion to sharks. The enchanted isles truly do give individuals an opportunity to eradicate their fears and expectations of what Galapagos sharks have in store for us humans. It’s an unforgettable experience that you’ll hopefully get to experience more than once on your Galapagos cruise!

Updated:May 10, 2023

Published:April 3, 2017


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person



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This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

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Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
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No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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